Apart from being the first person to own a motor car in Port Elizabeth, William Alcock was also the first Mayor of the garden town, Walmer, south of its larger sibling, Port Elizabeth. Even though he was a tinsmith by training, he had extremely eclectic interests and an entrepreneur to boot. He was a member of the Photographic Society, the Athenaeum, the Museum and the Port Elizabeth Automobile Club. In addition, his civic duties relate to the Walmer Municipality, first as a member, then Chairman in 1891 and finally first Mayor in 1899.
This blog highlights one of Port Elizabeth’s early civic leaders who also had manifold interests in diverse fields.
Main picture: William Alcock as a child in Birkenhead, England, in the 1850s
With its wide avenues, broad pavements, a cornucopia of trees and houses set back far from the road, Walmer was rightly known as the garden town when it was a separate municipality. Separated from its larger sibling by the Baakens River, it evoked a sense of genteel suburban living.
Main picture: Target Kloof
Today nothing remains of this railway line which wended its way through the sylvan town of Walmer in the early twentieth century. Not even a memory, the sound of the whistle or the smell of the coal fired engine which traversed the arboreal streets such as Villiers and Water Road all the way to the municipal boundary at 14th Avenue recalls this miniature train.
Main picture: Narrow gauge train leaving the Main Station in Port Elizabeth Continue reading